How Long Will You Feel Sick After Chemotherapy?
In the hours and days following a chemotherapy treatment, patients report all sorts of symptoms, ranging from the unpleasant to the outright debilitating. Many of these common chemo side effects appear unexpectedly and linger for some time, while others might show up right away and vanish just as quickly. Patients’ experiences battling the side effects of chemotherapy can be as varied as the patients themselves, making it tough to predict exactly how and when a side effect may present itself, or to say with any certainty how long you might feel sick after each chemo treatment. However, there are a few general guidelines that may allow you to better deal with the side effects you experience and, hopefully, predict how long they’ll last. To find out more, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ explain.
How Long Will You Feel Sick After Your First Chemo Treatment?
Different patients may have different experiences with chemotherapy, but the fact remains that the majority of patients will suffer from some combination of side effects during the course of their treatment. It’s impossible to generalize about how long these symptoms will stick around; some may disappear between treatments, while others can last well beyond the end of a person’s chemo regimen.
For instance, many chemo patients experience headaches, stomachaches, muscle or joint pain, or the symptoms of nerve damage – tingling, burning, or numbness – when they start treatment. This pain often goes away between treatments, only to be renewed every few weeks by a new round of chemo. And yet, even if the pain dissipates time and time again, the damage chemo can do to the nerves may end up being permanent, which means lasting, chronic pain for the rest of the patient’s life.
It must be stressed that the severity of each side effect – and even whether or not it appears at all – will differ from person to person. These variations depend on a number of factors, including the type and location of a patient’s cancer, the medications used to treat their disease, and the patient’s own physiology. Before beginning your treatments, speak with your doctor and oncology team about what to expect in terms of side effects; they may be able to offer some suggestions regarding how to prepare for or mitigate symptoms.
How Long Do You Feel Sick After Chemotherapy Ends?
When the side effects of chemotherapy last after the end of a patient’s treatments, they’re typically referred to as “late effects.” Like the usual side effects of chemo, late effects and their impact on patients’ lives tends to vary significantly from person to person, though some side effects are more likely to linger than others.
One of the longest-lasting late effects of chemo is a form of cognitive dysfunction commonly referred to as “chemo brain.” Patients with this condition, which can appear even before chemo treatments begin, describe an inability to concentrate or think clearly. Doctors have yet to discover exactly what causes this ailment, though it is thought to arise out of a combination of common chemo side effects. However, even after those side effects fade away, patients report chemo brain symptoms lasting as long as five years after the end of chemotherapy. That said, most people will see significant improvement in the months following their last treatment.
Another source of prolonged suffering is the lasting damage that chemotherapy can cause to important organs in the body. Both chemo and radiation can damage the muscles of the heart, especially in patients who are 65 or older or those on specific medications. The lungs are also susceptible to long-term damage; patients who receive a combination of chemotherapy and radiation are at an increased risk, and anyone with this type of damage may experience inflammation in the lungs or difficulty breathing. Other lasting effects include a loss of fertility, the onset of menopause, nerve damage, and emotional trauma, any of which can be permanent for some patients. The fight against cancer is not easy, but don’t be scared of its long term effects, remember chemotherapy is made to help!
Despite the possibility of late effects that last for months or years, most chemo side effects will clear up after a few months of a person’s last treatment. Oral mucositis, for example, may not appear for the first several weeks of chemotherapy, and it can remain for a month or more after the end of treatment. However, the severity of oral mucositis – and many of the other side effects of chemotherapy – can sometimes be mitigated with the proper treatment.
In the case of oral mucositis, the commonly accepted treatment is cryotherapy, the use of freezing or near-freezing temperatures to affect the body. Most cancer centers distribute ice chips for patients to suck on for this very reason, but a stronger, more effective option is available: the Chemo Mouthpiece™. If you or someone you know is struggling with the side effects of chemo, especially mouth sores, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ may be able to help.
Oral Ice Pack for Fighting Chemo Mouth Sores
Because it was specifically designed by an engineer and cancer survivor to combat oral mucositis, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ has emerged as the best oral cryotherapy device on the market. This simple, easy-to-use device can cool the entire oral cavity, providing effective cooling power unmatched by ice chips or anything else. To learn more about the Chemo Mouthpiece™ and how it can help you or a loved one through chemotherapy, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.